The HCG Diet – So What’s All The Hype About?


Considered to be a fad diet, the HCG diet promises to help you lose one or more pounds in a day. It is a quick weight loss diet which uses a hormone found in a pregnant women's body to help overweight people get rid of excessive pounds. Let's take a look at what exactly the HCG diet is, the pros and cons, and whether you should use it to lose weight or not.

What Does HCG Stand For?

HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a substance found in the urine of pregnant women. The hormone was discovered in 1927 and till date it's presence in the urine of women is used to check for signs of pregnancy. It is also a factor that helps doctors detect the presence of birth defect in the unborn fetus.

The HCG hormone is believed to play a role in making sure that a developing fetus receives the necessary nutrients and calories, irrespective of the food intake of the pregnant women. Here is how it does this…

Usually the excess calories consumed by a women ends up accumulating as fat in areas such as the hips, abdomen and thighs. When a woman gets pregnant, the HCG hormone ensures that the fat accumulated in these areas makes it's way to the fetus. So, even if a pregnant woman is not eating properly, her fat reserves ensure that the fetus continues to grow.

Being a gonadotrophic hormone, HCG was also used for genital development in boys. In 1930, Dr. A.T.W. Simeons noticed that boys being treated with this hormone had lower hunger cravings and were eating less. This, in turn, was causing them to lose excess weight.

This is when he became interested in HCG as a diet aid. He developed the HCG diet regimen, aimed at helping overweight people lose weight.

Ok.. So What's the Plan – How Does it Work?

On the HCG diet, you will be consuming less than 500 calories per day. Treatment can go on for as long as 43 days, during which you take 40 HCG injections or serum drops under the tongue. The aim is to help the dieter lose about 34 to 40 pounds during this period. There is no HCG dose in the last three days of the treatment.

According to Simeons, HCG seems to stop working after 40 days. So, you have to take a six-week long break after each treatment round. Maximum four rounds of treatment should be taken.

Here are a few things that you will need to consider on the HCG diet:

  • You will be eating very less food to ensure that your total daily calorie intake stays below 500 calories.
  • The diet is high is protein and low in carbohydrates and fats.
  • No sugar, alcohol or dairy products should be used during your treatment.
  • In case you make a mistake in your diet, you are required to make up by drinking plenty of water and eating six apples the next day.

The Pros of the HCG Diet

The HCG diet does stick true to its claims, that is, it does make you lose weight. This is no surprise since it does involve a drastic reduction in calorie consumption. The HCG also leads to burning of fat. The two factors combined together do help in quick weight loss.

Now Let's Take a Look at the Cons…

hcg diet vial with syringeJust like all fad diets, the HCG diet also has more disadvantages than benefits. Losing one or more pound a day with this diet comes with dangerous effects on your health. The hormone itself has its own side-effects. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Constipation
  • Hair thinning
  • Male breast enlargement
  • Blood clots
  • Leg cramps
  • Water retention
  • Tenderness of breasts

Along with these usual side-effects, the hormone can cause serious medical conditions. These include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), in which the ovaries swell up and start leaking fluid into the abdomen. This condition can lead to blood clots and kidney failure among other dangerous bodily conditions.

The low-calorie and low-nutrition intake have their own side-effects including fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and constipation, and hair loss.

You may also end up gaining the lost weight in the six-week break period required between each treatment round.

Furthermore, the HCG diet is not an inexpensive one. The HCG injections, sprays, pills, and drops can lead to a major hole in your pocket.

Should You Even Consider The HCG Diet?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved HCG as a fertility drug. However, it has not approved the use of this hormone for any other purpose, including weight loss.

In fact, it has warned people to stay away from over-the-counter weight loss products containing HCG. It has also issued warnings to companies who are selling these products in the name of homeopathic drugs for weight loss.

We recommend another diet program as a safe alternative:

In short, the HCG diet is a fad diet that makes use of a hormone that may potentially have serious side-effects. If you do want to lose weight, it may be a better idea to try out another healthier weight loss plan than HCG. This is especially important if you are taking regular medication or have a chronic medical condition.